Three people paddling in a canoe during sunset with the Sleeping Giant in the background

Lake Superior | Destination Ontario

Ways to experience Indigenous culture across Ontario

Three people paddling in a canoe during sunset with the Sleeping Giant in the background

Lake Superior | Destination Ontario

Immerse yourself in authentic Indigenous experiences that connect with nature through the power of storytelling, dance and art. Treat yourself to traditional and contemporary cuisine or apply innovative methods in learning a new skill.

Learn about the rich traditions and culture firmly rooted in the heritage of these lands.

Tours and outdoor adventures

Thrive Tours

This award-winning Indigenous-owned ecotourism company offers unique tours with a zero-footprint objective.

Located in Sault Ste. Marie, Thrive Tours provides guided tours and activities such as kayaking, camping, canoeing and snowshoeing with connections to nature through Indigenous storytelling and teachings.

Year-round tours are available for beginners to advanced adventurers. There are also options to customize experiences.

Location: Sault Ste. Marie

Wikwemikong Tourism

Located in northeastern Manitoulin Island, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory is home to the people of the Three Fires Confederacy: the Ojibwa, Odawa and Pottawatomi Nations. Wikwemikong Tourism offers outdoor experiences on Manitoulin Island and in the Killarney region. 

Learn to cook with natural ingredients sourced on a foraging hike. Experience advanced wilderness eco-adventures or take a “soft” adventure (requiring no experience) with your family.

Wikwemikong Tourism also offers guided hiking and paddling in Point Grondine Park, a popular destination located between Killarney and French River where you can enjoy outdoor activities in the beautiful backcountry wilderness.

Location: 2098 G, Wikwemikong Way, Wikwemikong

Algonquin Canoe Company  

Algonquin Canoe Company rents canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboard (SUP) equipment, snowshoes and more.

GPS points are available in traditional areas to highlight portage routes, sightseeing areas and other points of interest.

Their knowledgeable guides provide suggestions and route recommendations before you go on a self-guided tour. Guided tours are also offered.

Location: Long Sault Island, ON-63, Thorne

Voyageur Wilderness

Voyageur Wilderness is a family-run operation providing outdoor learning experiences in Quetico Provincial Park for over 60 years.

Quetico Provincial Park is a popular paddling and fishing destination known for its remote and rugged landscape, breathtakingly serene settings and pristine waters. 

Check out the rating system for canoe trips to see which canoe trips match your skills and fitness level. Voyageur Wilderness will outfit you with the right gear and share their knowledge on your overnight wilderness canoe trip. Tours are available from May to September.

Location: Atikokan and Quetico Provincial Park

TJ Stables

Don’t miss the unique opportunity to meet and interact with Anishinabe Ojibwe Spirit Horses. This friendly and calming breed of horses once roamed free in the wild in large herds, but they were on the brink of extinction. The descendants of these rare horses are at TJ Stables.

Learn about the strong spirituality and history of these gentle creatures and their connections to Indigenous culture through song and storytelling.

Overnight accommodation in a teepee or a cabin is available.

Location: 837 Gregory Drive East, Chatham

History and heritage

Journey to Anishinaabe Knowledge Trail

Designated as a national historic site, the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is Canada's most extensive botanical garden. The Journey to Anishinaabe Knowledge Trail is a permanent installation in the RBG Arboretum that invites you to take a self-guided tour that explains the Anishinaabe People's connection to plants and nature. 

Location: 680 Plains Road West, Burlington

Ojibwe Cultural Foundation

Learn about the Anishinaabe culture, history and spiritual teachings on Manitoulin Island.

Workshops, events and a variety of other programs are also offered. Previous workshops have included sharing sacred stories, Anishinaabe-style pottery classes, snowshoe-making classes and more.

Purchase Tea Horse, an Indigenous-owned artisanal tea, at the foundation’s gift shop.

Location: 15 Highway 551, M’Chigeeng, Manitoulin Island

Woodland Cultural Centre

The mandate of the Woodland Cultural Centre is to “preserve, promote and strengthen the Indigenous language, culture, art and history.”

Learn about Indigenous history, culture and tradition through guided and self-guided tours at the centre’s museum and gallery. 

The centre hosts educational programs and events and often uses cultural interpreters to answer questions. There is also a gift shop on the property where you can buy books and products created by local Indigenous artists.

Location: 184 Mohawk Street, Brantford

Indigenous art at museums and galleries

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Under an hour’s drive northwest of Toronto, McMichael Canadian Art Collection showcases Inuit, Iningat Ilagiit and First Nations art, including the work of popular Anishinaabe artist Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird) and acclaimed Ojibwa artist Carl Beam. Contemporary artists include photographers Meryl McMaster and Rebecca Belmore.

Location: 10365 Islington Ave, Kleinburg

National Gallery of Canada

Canada’s oldest cultural institution, the National Gallery of Canada is home to the largest collection of contemporary Indigenous art in the country. 

Location: 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Located in downtown Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) houses work by prominent Indigenous artists from Canada and around the world.

Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Ontario

Indigenous cuisine

Mādahòkì Farm

Mādahòkì Farm offers many ways for visitors of all ages to experience authentic Indigenous culture just outside of Ottawa. Farm-to-table experiences reflect the importance of traditional food. 

Mādahòkì Farm hosts events that honour the seasons, such as Sīgwan (spring), Tagwàgi (autumn) and Pibòn (winter) and the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival.

Shop for products from Indigenous artists and makers at the market on the farm, such as ethically sourced Fair-trade chocolate, Raven Rising.

Location: 4420 West Hunt Club Road, Nepean

Tea N Bannock

Although not Indigenous-owned, this inviting sit-down restaurant specializes in contemporary and modern Indigenous cuisine prepared by Indigenous chefs. Mouth-watering menu options include bison burgers, elk stew and grilled trout.

Location: 1294 Gerrard Street East, Toronto

Beandigen Cafe

Mother and daughter owners Paula and Jayde proudly showcase their Ojibwe heritage in the name of their cafe, which means “welcome” in the Ojibwe language. Located in Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park, stop by for a cup of coffee and delicious food. 

The cafe also sells Indigenous products and hosts events featuring local Indigenous talent and art workshops such as beading and learning to make moccasins.

Location: 106–900 Exhibition Way, Ottawa

Anishinaabe Wild Rice Experience

Wild rice is an Indigenous food that is flavourful and full of nutrients.

Get hands-on experience in the traditions and techniques for harvesting, preparing and cooking wild rice from a family that has been harvesting it for generations.

The family farm is located on Whitefish Lake, which is 70 kilometres southwest of Thunder Bay. The harvesting season runs from late September to early October.

Location: Whitefish Lake, Nolalu

Arts and culture

imagineNATIVE Film & Media Festival

Recognized nationally and internationally for its progressive innovation and excellence, imagineNATIVE is the world’s largest Indigenous film and media arts festival held annually each October.

It showcases Indigenous storytelling from around the world in audio, visual and digital formats.

Location: Toronto 

Native Renaissance

Native Renaissance is a gift shop, art gallery and cafe located in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, approximately two hours drive from Toronto. The art gallery features the artwork of well-known artists, such as award-winning sculptor Thomas B. Maracle. 

Support Indigenous artists when you shop for food, arts and crafts and more in the gift shop.

Location: 386 Highway 49, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Deseronto

Places to stay

Manitoulin Hotel & Conference Centre 

Owned by six local First Nations communities, the Manitoulin Hotel boasts designs and art that reflect First Nations heritage and tradition.

Enjoy the warm hospitality and comfortable atmosphere in the teepee-shaped lobby with a fireplace and the cozy suites and guestrooms, equipped with modern amenities. 

Take in the incredible views of Georgian Bay North Channel and the picturesque mountains and enjoy locally sourced dishes while dining at the hotel’s restaurant, North46.

Location: 66 Meredith Street East, Little Current

Chiefswood Park

Stay at a cozy and luxurious wooden cabin outfitted with a kitchenette, private bathroom and a loft area surrounded by the beautiful Carolinian Forest.

Just a 1.5-hour drive from Toronto, Chiefswood Park also offers entertaining guided and self-guided tours to museums and historical sites where you can learn about Haudenosaunee culture.

The cabins are available year-round with heating and cooling systems. In addition, seasonal campsites near the Grand River, with a grill, firepit and picnic table can be booked online.

The nearby historic sites and museums operate seasonally.

Location: 1037 Brant County Highway 54, Ohsweken

Six Nations House

Six Nations House offers spacious accommodation with historic charm in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s conveniently located close to the town’s shops, museum and downtown area. 

The owners are from Six Nations of the Grand River and co-owner Tim Johnson is a direct descendant of Mohawk hero Joseph Brant. Learn about the contributions of the Six Nations from the historical book collection at the accommodation.

Location: 74 Gage Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Find more Indigenous Experiences across Ontario.

Last updated: March 17, 2024

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